Iowa marks one year since devastating derecho

Photo: City of Cedar Rapids

What are the 'lessons learned' from the 2020 Derecho? Listen as Jeff Angelo talks with Cedar Rapids Mayor Brad Hart

(Undated) -- August 10th, 2020 was one for the record books. The most costly thunderstorm ever in the United States rolled across Iowa, causing hundreds of thousands of power outages, damaging or destroying millions of trees, and causing extensive crop damage.

Brooke Hagenhoff meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Des Moines says the storm started with a cluster of thunderstorms in South Dakota. The system grew into a massive storm, packing hurricane-force winds that roared through central Iowa, causing tree and crop damage. The storm winds were estimated at 70 miles per hour to 100 miles per hour. Hagenhoff says a few areas in eastern Iowa had estimated wind speeds of 115 mph. Derechos are not uncommon in the Midwest, but weather experts say this particular storm was stronger and lasted longer than normal.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources estimates the storm damaged and destroyed four million trees across the state. Cedar Rapids was hit especially hard. The city lost up to two-thirds of its tree canopy. The storm also caused damage in Iowa City and the Quad Cities.

Geoff Greenwood of MidAmerican energy says the storm disrupted electrical service to about 60-percent of the utility's customers. Alliant Energy also had significant power outages during the derecho in Cedar Rapids. Both utilities had hundreds of thousands of outages. Several of Iowa's electric utilities also had outages due to the storm. Thousands of extra linemen were brought into Iowa to help with restorations.

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